Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Isolating selected layers (CC 2014), part of Photoshop CC 2013 One-on-One: Intermediate.
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In this movie, I'll show you how to isolate one or more layers inside Photoshop. So that you can modify them independently of other layers in a composition. And this is particularly helpful when working with path outlines associated with shape layers. Because to prevent you from messing up other path outlines in a document. So notice that the dotted path outline, the rounded rectangle, still has some problems. We've got the circle that's slightly cut off in front of the w.
And then, we have too much space between the S and this dot right there. And then, we've got some problems around the star, as well. And so, by default if I have a shape layer selected, which I do this border layer here inside the Layers panel. And, I marquee an area with, in my case, the White Arrow tool. Which allows me to select independent anchor points. Then, I'm going to select the points that are associated with the active layer only. But, notice this option on the far left side of the Options bar, it's currently set to Active Layers, but it can be set to All Layers instead.
Which you may sometimes find helpful. But it can also throw you. So, notice if All Layers are active, and I draw that same marquee as I did before. I end up selecting not only these two anchor points that are associated with a rounded rectangle. But I select the star and this pair of scissors as well, and notice that I now have three layers selected. Here inside the Layers panel. If you don't want that, then all you have to do is click on that Border layer to select that one layer only. And Photoshop will automatically deselect the star in the scissors.
A more fool proof way to work is to isolate this Border layer. And you can do that in one of two ways. Either you can go up to the Select menu and choose Isolate Layers. Or, if either of the arrow tools or the move tool appear at the top of the toolbox is selected. Then you can right-click inside the image window and choose Isolate Layers from the shortcut menu. Either way, you'll see just the selected layer here inside the Layers panel. Thereby prohibiting you from selecting anything associated with any of the other layers.
So notice now even though Select is still set to All Layers, if I marquee around the star and the scissors, I do not select them. I just select these two anchor points right there. Now what I really want to do is modify the layer mask in order to prevent this dot from being cut off. Fortunately, that layer mask is still accessible to me. So all I need to do is click on its thumbnail here inside the Layers panel, and then I'll switch to the rectangular marquee tool. Which of course, I can get by pressing the m key.
And now, I'll just go ahead and marquee this little bit of dot right there, the one that's cut in half. And I'm going to include this dot as well, the one above the star. I want to change that area, inside the layer mask, to black. And because black is my foreground color, all I need to do is press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete. If you're working along with me, and black is not your foreground color, then you just need to swap the foreground and background color. Either by clicking on this little icon right there or you can press the x key.
And then, you press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac. All right, we've got another problem up here. This dot is too far away from the S, so I'm going to marquee right about there I figure. And I want to make a dot appear this time, so I need this region to be white inside of the layer mask. And I'll achieve that effect by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete on a Mac. And if you don't quite get all of the dot, you can just drag this guy over a little bit and then press Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete again.
And now, I'll move over to the dot that's being cut off next to the w. And, I'll go ahead and marquee it, let's say. And I'll press Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete on the Mac to reveal that entire dot. And then, I'll click again to deselect the image. Now at this point, we have a problem with the dots beings too close to the W and too close to the S. And so what I want to do is nudge these letters closer together by reducing the tracking value. Problem is I can't get to the letters of course, because I'm still working in this isolation mode.
But you can always get to a text layer regardless of whether you're isolated or not, by selecting the Type tool. So I'll go ahead and click on the Type tool, or of course you could press the t key. And now, notice that there is no type layer available to us here inside the Layers panel. But as soon as I click inside of that text. Not do I get my blinking insertion marker, but I also see that text layer. So, it automatically becomes available to me. At which point I'll press Ctrl+a or Cmd+a on a Mac, to select all that text.
I'll zoom out a little bit by pressing Ctrl+minus, or Cmd+minus on a Mac. And I'll go ahead and bring up my Character panel by clicking on a little a here in this column of icons. Or because I have some text selected I'll press Ctrl+t or Cmd+t on a Mac. I'll also go ahead and select this tracking value right here by clicking on it. And then, I'll take the value down to negative ten, and that should end up doing the trick. And I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to accept that change. And then I'll hide the Character panel by clicking on the little double arrow icon.
And I'll accept my changes to the type by pressing the Esc key. Or you can press the Enter key on the numerical key pad. And now notice the text needs to be centered a little bit better. And so, I'll press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on a Mac, and then I'll press the right-arrow key three or four times. In order to nudge that text over to the right. Now, of course, the final thing you need to do is escape the Isolation mode so that you can access the other layers inside of your document. And you do that in one of two ways. Either you can go up to the Select menu and choose Isolate Layers to turn it off, or an easier way to work in my opinion.
Is to go here, to the Layers Panel. Notice the word Selected in the top left corner of the panel. That tells you that you've isolated one or more selected layers. Rather than switching this to something different, what you want to do is, move over to this little switch right there. Remember I said, it appears red right now? Just go ahead and click on it in order to turn it off. And now you can access any layer you like. And that's how you isolate one or more layers so that you can modify those layers. Without running the risk of harming other layers here in Photoshop.
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- Making channel-by-channel Levels adjustments
- Sharpening with the Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass filters
- Working with vector-based type
- Kerning and tracking characters
- Creating text on a path
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- Downsampling for the web